Jaason Smith and freshman T.J. Thompson combined for 39 points to help Karl Hobbs win his first exhibition game, a 99-84 victory over the University All-Stars Saturday at the Smith Center. The Colonials scrambled to score six points in the final minutes after sloppy second-half defense allowed the All-Stars to cut a 17-point deficit to eight points.
GW committed 16 of 22 turnovers in the second half.
“I thought in the first half we looked like a real good basketball team,” Hobbs said, referring to his team’s 49-34 halftime lead. “We were sharp offensively, and I think the guys thought that the game was over, that this team was going to roll over and die. So we sort of played too loose in the second half.”
Four Colonials scored in double figures, including Smith, who had a game-high 21 points. Thompson finished with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, and Chris Monroe scored on 17 points despite five turnovers.
Thompson nailed two three pointers and was 4-for-4 from the free-throw line, though erratic at times.
“I thought T.J. obviously shot the ball terrific,” Hobbs said of the 5-foot-10 point guard from Germantown, Md., who botched a dunk attempt at the end of the first half.
“I thought at times he showed a lot of maturity, leadership,” Hobbs said. “He played the way a point guard is supposed to play, and then at times he reverted back to being what he is, which is a freshman.”
Sophomore Greg Collucci saw increased playing time with 34 minutes and scored 13 points on 5-of-7 from the floor, 3-of-5 from beyond the arc. Collucci, Thompson and Smith showed the
Colonials have an offensive variety that could overcome the loss of last year’s three top scorers.
Smith showed his athletic ability on a block with three-and-half minutes remaining and finished with a jumper on the ensuing fast break.
“I like the fact that his leadership abilities are showing and more importantly he’s committed himself to be a better basketball player,” Hobbs. “He’s making jump shots, he’s putting the ball down, and he’s rebounding; he’s doing a little bit of everything.”
Power forwards Darrio Scott scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds while Tamal Forchion added five points and four rebounds. But both freshmen failed to use any of their combined 463 pounds of muscle.
The All-Stars were led by former New Mexico Lobo Wayland White’s game-high 27 points and former Ohio University standout Diante Flenoral’s seven rebounds.
Four minutes into the game with the score tied at 12, a Collucci
three-pointer sparked a 10-point run that was capped off by a Thompson steal and a fast-break slam-dunk by Monroe that excited the crowd of about 1,500 in the Smith Center.
The Colonials expanded their lead to 15 and ended the half up 49-34. GW maintained a double-digit lead for most of the second half.
But the team’s 16 second-half turnovers and spotty transition defense will force Hobbs to use GW’s last week of practice effectively.
“I hated our transition defense,” he said. “I thought at times we were a little too anxious and were too much in a hurry. I thought we had some lapses where we just weren’t focused offensively and we started taking more chances when we didn’t necessarily have to.”
Smith agreed, saying, “I think we have to work on everything on defense. Everything.”
The Colonials play their final exhibition game Nov. 10 at the Smith
Center before traveling to the University of Kentucky for the start of the regular season Nov. 15. GW first faces Marshall University in the first round of the NABC Classic.